Sandi Gelles-Cole imagines the life the screen legend and enduring cultural icon might have led -- from the opening scene (below) to her 85th birthday on June 1, 2011. DRAMA QUEEN June 1, 2011
They say only the good die young and I guess its true because I'm still here. Today is my eighty fifth birthday. During these years I have lived three lives: Before Marilyn, Being Marilyn and After. I created Marilyn Monroe and then men molded her: studios, agents, and husbands. Ever since the night I did not die, I have tried to leave her behind, but wherever I went, the creature followed. I tried to run. I tried changing my name, my country of residence, my hair color, body type, career and sexual preference. I went to college for coursework in Humanities and studied Russian Literature. But there was no escaping her.
The character I created became my own personal monster and devoured me in the 50s, and even after she died I could no more be someone else than I could grow a penis, change my skin color, or stop being a movie star. My so-called death scene is always described the same: My housekeeper, Eunice Murray, finds my wasted, naked body tangled in a sheet, wet from secretions better left unexplained. I am face down with one hand hanging over the telephone. This detail is discussed often; am I answering a call or making one and if I am calling, then whom? But it did not happen that way. I cheated death. . .
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